Love my fiancé, Wedding Planning can Suck Pit

I wasn’t going to do this, but I need the release that only posting in a forum can provide. I’m getting married in September, and, while I always saw myself as a plainspeaking person, but I’m also the kind of person who, while direct, is loathe to hurt feelings if I know I am doing so. I’m also aware of the fact that this is my fiancé’s family, and I don’t want to start a rift. His mother is very important to him, and she’s been good to me in the past. I don’t know why this is raising such bad juju.

I didn’t want to spend a lot on a wedding, and I’ve tripled the cost so far. I’m not an overly classy dame, and I’ve never really given a hoot what others thought of me. My family has been told the lay of the land, but my fiancé is pretty laid-back, and, as a result, most communications from my FMIL have come through me. My FMIL and I have differing tastes, and I don’t want to offend her, so she pressures us into doing things her way even after I’ve said no. She offers to help financially, and so I feel gauche rejecting this. My fiancé has no problem saying no to her if he doesn’t agree, and I will if backed against a wall, but when I do the reception is not graceful, as I have tried to be, but pretty MFing intimidating and angry and cold. I am made to feel as if I’m being unreasonable, cheap, inappropriate, and ignorant. I hate feeling like a fucking pest, but Bobdamnit I wish someone took into account that keeping you from blowing up at me over crap I don’t care about that you insisted on having is costing me money and ruining any enjoyment of this.

I don’t want to get into arguments about things I don’t want and you insist I should have, which then cost too much and impair your ability to follow through with stuff you did commit to. I just want you to take me at my word. I don’t want to feel like I go out of my way to be polite, inclusive and respectful of your opinion and you patronize me every chance you get. I hate what I’m turning into, and what this is doing to me. I know it’ll pass, but for fuck’s sake, I hope my actual marriage isn’t this kind of an oligarchy! :mad:

I know if I said any of these things it would hurt her and make her cry, and so I keep my mouth shut and let my liver feed on itself. I keep repeating to myself “I don’t want to be ungrateful, I don’t want to be ungraceful…” I don’t want to hurt his feelings, either, as this is his mother.

Bah. My stomach hurts. :frowning:

I’m going to say something that sounds a tad obvious. It’s your marriage, and your money: take control of them and have a respectful but firm talk with everyone involved. Speak with your fiancé first and make your points clear with him, so that you’ll know where he really stands. I know you don’t want to upset anyone, but the longer you postpone, the worse it will feel, and the more upset people involved will be.

You can make it a matter of principle and tell them that this is your marriage, you marry only once (well, not necessarily, but it sounds well :)) and by the gods you want it to be the way you decide.

If there is any problem in the future, you can say you were having a Bridezilla phase; it seems many, many women get a free pass for crazy things and bad tempers while planning a marriage, so why not take advantage of it?

Flea, honey - get your fiancé on board. Now.

Sit him down, tell him “You know I wanted this to be a low-key affair. Here are the plans I had. Here are the things your mother wants me to do, and how much more it’s going to cost us. I am grateful for her offers of financial and planning assistance, but this was how I wanted my wedding to be and it’s really upsetting me that she’s trying to take control”. Get his ideas about how he saw the wedding going.

You say your fiancé’s pretty laid-back about things, but he has no problem telling his mom “No” when it’s something he doesn’t want. But this is his wedding as well as yours, and if what your FMIL is asking for is making you feel upset, unhappy, like you don’t want to go on with planning the wedding because it’s all just a pain, then he should be stepping in on your behalf.

You both need to present a united front, both need to step up to mom and say “Mom, we appreciate the things you’ve done for us, but this is really the way we want things to go”. If she argues, then fiancé needs to reassure her that she’s not being kicked out of the wedding, but that you’ve already got plans in place, and whilst if she would like to help implement these plans then she’s welcome to, trying to take over and make it all about what she wants is just not good juju.

Ultimately the wedding is about you and your husband-to-be. If your wedding day is miserable because all you can think about is how you hate the decorations that your MIL chose, or that you despise the colour of the bridesmaid’s dresses, or if you’re constantly concerned about how much the drinks she chose are going to cost, then it’s a pretty shitty way to start your married life. And if the boundaries aren’t drawn early in the piece, you may find every family celebration steamrolled in this way.

**I completely circumvented all of these issues in 2 ways - Hubby’s family are in the UK, we’re in Australia. Plus my family didn’t know about the wedding until a month beforehand, and none of 'em were invited :smiley: So peaceful.

Don’t take her money. Whereas many future in-laws offer financial help with wedding plans out of a generous desire to help make your special day what you want it to be, in this case, your future mother-in-law clearly feels that she is buying control and decision-making.

You and your fiance should use your resources to have the wedding you want and can afford. Don’t be tempted into taking bribes to give up your plans if they’re genuinely important to you.

I’ve never once heard a married person say “I wish we’d spent more money on our wedding” or “It wasn’t fancy enough” or “We didn’t have enough extravagant extras”.

As long as you’re not hitting your guests up for money in some way (e.g., cash bar, money tree, “dollar dance” with the bride, handing out your gift registry information unsolicited, etc. etc.), or otherwise being inconsiderate towards them, then you can pretty much do as you like with the details of your ceremony and reception. There’s an awful lot of crap spouted about how you “have to” do everything a certain way to conform to wedding “etiquette”, but in most cases you really don’t.

And yes, continue to be polite and gracious to your FMIL, even while refusing to let her take over your wedding plans and drive you into debt. If you can manage to ask her opinion and take her advice on small details that are unimportant to you, that would be lovely.

This. Do this.

In fact, I would take the following approach with the FMIL. The first time she suggests something you don’t want to do, either due to financial concerns or simple taste preferences, thank her warmly for the idea but tell her you’d prefer to do it differently. If she persists, tell her you’ll think about it. That’s when you enlist the fiancé. It’s now his job to enforce your wishes and deflect your FMIL’s attempts to change them, even if he personally doesn’t care how you do the particular detail in question.

Do this even if each individual issue doesn’t seem worth making a big deal over. For one thing, as you’ve already seen those little issues can all add up to you feeling railroaded and bullied into doing things differently than you want. For another thing, having your fiancé explain to his mother that you’re not doing something her way will go over a lot better than you doing it – from you, it’s being picky and demanding. From him, it’s her well-raised son taking charge and making his future wife happy because he’s just such a good boy. Once you feel your wishes are being respected and you have control over how your wedding goes, you can compromise on things you don’t care about as much as possible.

Wedding planning sucks, especially when family tension comes into play. Avoid conflict as much as possible, but don’t end up in a situation where you start off your marriage resenting your in-laws.

And I will add, to the already good advice so far, that you need to be aware that FMIL obviously begins as she means to go on; she’s not going to stop trying to run your lives the way she thinks they ought to be run after you get married. If anything, it’s going to get worse, and before you know it, you’ll be writing one of those “my MIL is running our lives and my husband won’t do anything to stop her” letters to Dear Abby.

You need to listen to yourself for a minute here:

Geez. No wonder your stomach hurts. :wink:

The basic underlying problem is this: Your common sense and strong sense of self-respect is severely at odds with your cultural conditioning that has indoctrinated you that Nice Girls Never Disagree With Anybody.

This is a fallacy left over from the Victorian Era, and actually I’m surprised to find it still lingering. I thought the reason we did all that get-in-touch-with-your-emotions and be honest with each other stuff in the 60s was so people wouldn’t have to go through this any more.

Anyway. You need to get up on your hind legs and not be afraid to tell people in words of one syllable, “No.” And yeah, it’s unavoidably going to hurt their feelings sometimes, but is it worth biting your tongue and scrupulously avoiding hurting their feelings if it means that your rights are being trod underfoot? Answer: no.

Don’t be afraid to make people upset by telling them “no” sometimes. It won’t hurt them, and it’s hurting you to NOT tell them “no”. Saying “no” to someone doesn’t automatically turn you into a Not-Nice Person. I myself said “no” to a manipulative Church Lady just last fall, and it felt gooooood. And it didn’t make me into a Not-Nice Person, just one who stood up for herself.

The new paradigm is as follows: Nice Girls Stand Up For Themselfes.

And, I might add, they don’t need some man–as in “fiance”–to go to bat for them. :wink: They do it their ownself.

Now go get 'er. :smiley:

High time someone taught her there’s a new paradigm in town.

Flea, baby, I am RIGHT there with you. Damn, I almost wrote an OP similar to yours. My FMIL is a nice lady, but she’s kind of a passive-aggressive pain in the ass too, and of course my fiance doesn’t know half the shit she says to me over e-mail and thus can’t quite grasp the level of annoyance. I’ve gotten several lectures about what a wife’s job is and how I should plan everything and NOT make Mike do any of it because men can’t plan things like this… including making their own doctors and dentist appointments. Does she not realize I work?

My FMIL is NOT offering to pay for anything except the rehearsal dinner, but she has invited everyone she’s ever met in her life to this wedding that my sainted father is paying for. Get this: she invited her sister’s ex-husband’s wife and her husband. Mike didn’t even know who they were when I showed him her list, and we’ve been joking about these people being invited ever since. Today she e-mails me to ask if I’ve invited them because her sister wanted to be sure I did… but don’t expect a gift from them, she only invited them to make her sister happy. WTF?

The one thing she’s paying for, the rehearsal dinner, has been a clusterfuckfrom day one. The thread I linked to was posted in April and she’s STILL fucking with the details. My dad didn’t give me this much shit over the entire wedding! When I finally handed it off to Mike to deal with after 2 months of dicking with it, she got all worried that I was mad at her, and then the lecture about how men can’t handle these things. Yeah well, he’s handling it, and since you’re paying for it, Mom, have fun if he fucks it up like you think he will!

A big part of this is getting your fiance to back you up. It’s funny how you’re overreacting and his mother is just being concerned / trying to be helpful. They say that because they have grown into the shape which their mother forms them, so they don’t notice the shit that will just grate on you. Point it out, and pass the buck. If she thinks you’re a bitch because of it… well, what do you think of her, and don’t you think it’ll come to this eventually? You can’t please her all the time, and she’ll respect you more if you stand up to her, even if she doesn’t like it.

Whew. PM me if you want to bitch one on one, girl. I feel your pain completely.

Sounds like a marriage made in heaven.

Why do people put themselves through this?

You know it’s going to end up as a big pain in the ass.

Couple of reasons: you want to make your parents happy. It’s really important to my dad. You genuinely want to celebrate with family and friends. You truly don’t know what you’re getting yourself into, and you get sucked into a lot of shit you never thought you’d do. You get to know your fiance and your in-laws in a whole new way.

And this is worth …what exactly?

This is supposed to make the soon-to-be-married couple look foward a happy future?

Oh. I guess you are just talking about the wedding.

My experience is that the wedding is simply a portent.

Simplified: Sucky, contentious wedding= sucky, contentious marriage.

Marriage is at its’ core about the couple. The best thing is to nuke the elaborate, petty, whingy wedding from orbit.


If I had known what I know now, I’d have eloped. My dad pushed really hard for it and he has been great. I don’t have the temperament for this kind of thing, but how can you know that until you’re already into it?

Eh, that’s not fair. You can learn things from the experience, set patterns that will help you later on. And, if the wedding goes even halfway OK, you get to have a kickass party with your friends and family to celebrate a really happy occasion. Sure, your mother in law is a pain in the ass. That’s a trope as old as marriage itself. Learning how to deal with her, and get your fiance to help you, is a valuable thing that the wedding can teach you.

But I do wish I’d eloped.

Vegas. Quick license, classy ceremony if you want, and it’s a done deal. Screw the family.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you can hope all you want and it will do no good; this is exactly how your actual marriage is going to be.

That is unless your husband-to-be starts putting your feelings first over his mother’s, and tells her where the line is to be drawn so that you aren’t made to feel “unreasonable, cheap, inappropriate, and ignorant” by a woman who’s being “intimidating and angry and cold” towards you. If he won’t do this now, plan on having this ugly problem until you’re divorced.

For the life of me, I don’t understand why women marry men who display such disregard for their feelings right from the get-go, and think it’s just magically going to get better once they have that piece of paper. Won’t happen.

I wish you the very best of luck.

What happens in Vegas…

Flea, my dear doormat, as Dr. Phil says, you teach people how to treat you. If this is how you want your FMIL to treat you in the future, continue on as you’ve been doing. If not, take the advice in this thread and start with getting your fiance on board, and then present a united front to his mom - this is YOUR wedding, and YOUR marriage, just like it will be YOUR house, and YOUR kids (you don’t think your FMIL will steamroll over you about every other life decision you guys try to
make?). Aggressive (stepping on someone else’s toes) is not great; assertive (preventing your own toes from getting stepped on) is fantastic. If she can’t pry her fingers off the controls if she’s paying for things, don’t let her pay for things. Tell her thanks but no thanks, we’d rather do it ourselves.

This is the important thing… is your mother in law or YOu going to be married?
You all need to sit down and sort things out. your husband to be has to stand up for your POV… (get that straight before hand)

When Mrs FML and I married, her mom decided to take control from afar (not, here, not involved, and not likely to show up anyway)… all she wanted was a nice set of photos…

She literally had my bride to be in tears over the “spicing of the beef” for our reception dinner…

so I phoned her, and explained in veryher polite but forceful tones what she was getting for her $350 wedding gift.

BTW, her $350 wedding gift was a china shop in London, England… We live in edmonton, Alberta, canada…

I told her thank you for your gift… we will be auctioning it off at our reception, the money will go towards a local woman’s shelter.

I also told her that if she ever attempts to emotionally manipulate her daughter again, we will cut off all contact

(Side note… Mrs FML’s mom and dad divorced in the mid 80’s and she has had little to do with her daughter since.

(side note #2 Mrs. FML’s dad lives here in Edmonton with us and supports us in a huge number of ways)


You’re going about this all wrong:

  1. Agree with all her ideas, and accept her offers of financial help.
  2. Now plan the wedding exactly as you wish, with one addition. As well as any requirements you had for photography or a video, book a cameraman to take a video of her.
  3. Let the big day unfold.
  4. Enjoy your leftover money, as well as your comedy video. If her reaction is extreme enough, you can make more money selling footage of a woman going purple and exploding.

Auctioning off at the reception the gift given by the mother of the bride may well be the tackiest and rudest thing I’ve ever heard of. But your post is proof that different people want different things from a relationship. I can only assume your missus appreciated you threatening (on her behalf) to cut off contact with her own mother, but that’s the sort of thing no SO of mine should ever dream of doing.

There’s a fundamental difference between your situation and the OP’er’s: Yours dealt with the mother of the distressed bride, while hers deals with the mother of the groom, distressing the bride.

It is IMO not a groom’s business to interpose himself between the bride and her mother, unless he has either (a) an explicit invitation from the bride or (b) a death wish. But it is the groom’s responsibility to interpose himself between the bride and his mother and to make sure his mother doesn’t nag her to death or upset her – precisely because the new relationship will not allow the bride to tell her future MIL to STFU even when the future MIL clearly needs to STFU.

So I add my voice to the chorus wondering where the groom is and why he is not running interference between his mother and his bride rather than allowing his mother to peck his bride to death.

Flea, my dear, your fiance is willing to back your decisions.

Let him. If she pitches a fit and cries, let him deal with it.

Don’t take money from her…he who has the money has the power, so if she’s paying for something, she gets a vote. Take away her vote.

Look upon this as a test…if this is how she is before you’re married, like featherlou says, what do you think will happen once the kidlets start coming? :eek:

Nip this in the bud now. Not tomorrow, not next week, now.